More of Things to Do in Canada…

Getting back to the “Things to Do in Canada” article from yesterday day. Here’s the list of things I’ve done … so far … with some sundry notes. The numbering is from the article.


1. Go whale watching.

Brent’s comment: did this in Juneau, Alaska so it’s a bit of a cheat. That said, I tried in May to whale watch again at Brier Island, Nova Scotia at the very far tip of the Digby Arm but – yikes, the weather that day was frightful. How the little ferry made it across and back with us on it was miraculous!


4. Drive the Trans-Canada Highway across the Rockies from Calgary to Vancouver. The drive is approximately 1,000 kms and will take between 10 and 12 hours.

Brent’s comment: Done this twice. The drive from Lake Louise through to Hope, BC via the Rogers Pass is stunning, and in places freaking scary to drive.  


5. Drive Hwy. 132 in Gaspe, Que., and watch the clouds tumble down the mountain toward the St. Lawrence River.

Brent’s comment: make sure you visit Perce Rock once you arrive in Gaspe.


6. Rent a bike and ride the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver.

Brent’s comment: okay, jogged didn’t bike the Park.


7. Walk the Dufferin Terrace in Quebec City, starting at the Plains of Abraham and ending at the Chateau Frontenac.

Brent’s comment: <sigh> Quebec City is one of my favourite places in Canada. A little piece of Europe here in Canada. Much nicer than Montreal imho. And way more to do and see! Go to Le Drague if you want to dance. Stay at La Place d’Armes Inn right across from the Frontenac. I can recommend it. Wee rooms but that’s a fact of life in Quebec City. The Inn’s restaurant, something-or-other Pain, is excellent.


10. Take a ride on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, Ont. Sure, it’s touristy, but worth every penny just the same.


11. Climb up Hamilton Mountain and take in the view of Burlington Bay and the Toronto skyline. Then ask yourself how, with a view like that, many consider Hamilton to be an ugly place.

Brent’s comment: yeps, I’ve always said this myself. Another great spot to visit in this area is Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls … in a day you can river hike and visit 3 waterfalls. Webster Falls is the third highest in Ontario fyi.


13. Skate for an afternoon on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa and have a beaver tail (a popular hot pastry).

Brent’s comment: been there done that when I lived in Ottawa in 1995/96. It was a crazy time that year and a half … meeting near-impossible deadlines with Times Life Mirror Publishing; cross-country trips to visit pilot sites and interview folks for the manuals; weeklong sojourns in St. Louis editing galleys on the fly; JQ and I and beer and pizza in the Courtyard Marriott in St Louis over Superbowl weekend; lost luggage at Christmas …  and on top of all this, life living with Audrey McLaughlin on James Str (yes, that Audrey, former leader of the federal New Democratic Party).


16. Do a pub crawl in St. John’s, Nfld. And don’t forget to kiss the cod — everyone should have to kiss a cod once before they die.

Brent’s comment: okay, not in St. John’s but in Stephenville, Newfoundland instead but it still counts.


21. Canoe Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario and camp there overnight.

Brent’s comments: done this many times. Canoe in Tom Thompson Lake. It’s the best!


24. Go to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto. If you’re fit, take the stairs. The less sporty can take the glass elevators.

Brent’s comments: another been there done it. United Way and World Wildlife Fund both sponsor stair climbs of the CN Tower. Try it once in your life. Good, if tiring, fun. Best time has been 11:43.


26. Ride a motorcycle across the north shore of Lake Superior in October on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Brent’s comments: drove didn’t motorcycle.


31. See Haliburton, in Ontario’s cottage country, when the leaves change.


33. Find the Sleeping Giant near Thunder Bay, Ont.

Brent’s comments: for those curious, the Sleeping Giant is a land formation outside Thunder Bay and looks like, well, a sleeping giant not surprisingly.


36. See the Bay of Fundy tidal bore.


40. Drive from Toronto to Montreal without going on the 401. One route is to take the old Hwy 2 to just past Cornwall, Ont. Then take Route 34 to Route 18, which changes into Route 340 at the Ontario-Quebec border.


41. Take a tour of a Canadian Armed Forces base. Realize the important job these men and women do for Canada.

Brent’s comments: toured Camp Petawawa.


45. Relive the Klondike gold rush by hiking the Chilkoot Trail, in the Yukon.

Brent’s comments: again, did it but on the Alaska side.


46. Go down a gold mine in Timmins, Ont.

Brent’s comments: did mine in Kirkland Lake, Ont instead.


47. Take a sailing tour on the Bluenose, the ship on the back of our dime. $30 for adults, $15 for children under 13.


50. Take a drive through the Prairies on a hot July day with your windows rolled down. Observe the space, the emptiness, and how beautiful it is.

Brent’s comments: do this both in daylight and again at night when the moon has set and the stars are full.


51. Visit Parliament Hill, take the tour, then go for a walk around the little-visited back of the Centre Block. Time it so you can take in the Canada Day fireworks.


57. Visit a working maple syrup farm in Ontario when the sap is running.


60. Watch a lake freighter go up and down Lock 3 on the Welland Canal near Niagara Falls, Ont.


69. Go to a hockey game in a small town. In fact, go to a hockey game in Brantford, Ont., hometown of Wayne Gretzky.

Brent’s comments: been there done it in Kirkland Lake; Tillonsburg; London; Sudbury; Brampton even. As someone with a few cousins in the hockey business – one of whom is even on the Stanley Cup! – way to go Garthy! –  this is a must yes.  


71. Walk the two blocks from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side to Gastown, and witness how two very different worlds can co-exist so close together.

Brent’s comment: whoa! Ain’t that the truth!


72. Visit Chinatown in any city in Canada with a Chinese-speaking friend. Ask lots of questions.

Brent’s comments: better yet, ask them in Cantonese or Mandarian.


74. Have afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, and contemplate the white man’s burden as you silently watch the sun set on Her Majesty’s empire.

Brent’s comments: this is ridiculously overpriced and be careful when your waiter comes around with the champagne. They have a fine art of fleecing you there with the way they phrase whether or not you’d want a drink!


75. Visit Tillsonburg, Ont., to see whether your “back still aches when you hear that word.” Be sure to check out the tobacco museum.

Brent’s comments: quick trivia question … who sang that song?


79. Take a microbrewery tour in Ontario. The Ontario Craft Beer Route includes about 26 microbreweries.

Brent’s comments: com’on head down to the Distillery District or Roundhouse or Granite Brewery in Toronto and you can check this one off.


84. Go hiking in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland (near Cornerbrook), another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Brent’s comments: words would not do the beauty of this place justice.


86. Take a week and do the Toronto International Film Festival. Try and see as many movies in a week as you can. This year, it is being held Sept. 7 to 16.

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